|This article is about the unit in Age of Empires II HD: The Forgotten. For the unit in Age of Empires, see Elephant Archer (Age of Empires).|
|“||Slow and heavy mounted archer.||”|
|—Age of Empires II description|
Elephant Archers can be upgraded to Elite Elephant Archers in the Imperial Age.
Slow and durable, the Elephant Archer is the toughest archer unit in the game. This durability comes at a cost, however; it is the most expensive archer unit in the game, and does not increase its offensive capability in exchange for this cost, with the same attack and basic rate of fire as a standard Cavalry Archer. An army of generic Elephant Archers will have dramatically more hit points, but a fraction the offensive power of an equal-cost army of standard archers. However, the strength of this unit relies on a population-efficiency factor rather than on a cost effectiveness.
Like the other elephant units, Elephant Archers are highly vulnerable to Pikemen, and Monks. Being also a Cavalry Archer, they are highly vulnerable against Skirmishers. Furthermore, Flaming Camels deal bonus damage, for a total of 200 damage against elephant units, and are thus simply lethal for packed groups of Elephant Archers.
While vulnerable to counter units, they are resistant to units such as Crossbowmen, as well as power units such as Knights, which can kill Crossbowmen in just 4 hits. they are also quite good vs infantry and, unlike Crossbowmen, they can take a few Mangonel shots. Their huge size also means that Mangonels are hitting only a few units at once.
These strengths are compounded by the Elephant Archer's lower speed and shorter range. In typical combat, the Crossbowmen will be behind the Elephant Archer due to the latter's shorter range, becoming the default target of hostile archers, requiring the enemy to micromanage their forces to a greater extent. In the face of melee attackers, the elephant will block approaching forces, as well as absorb un-targeted attacks, significantly increasing the durability of a mixed force.
Each civilization that has acces to the Elephant Archer has bonuses and unique technologies that may make their use a bit different.
All elephant units for the Bengalis receive 25% less bonus damage and are more resistant to conversion. This makes their Elephant Archers a highly valuable option, as it enables this unit to resist Skirmishers, Pikemen, and Monks (in some cases even defeating them, if those counter-units are deployed in similar numbers). The Bengalis' Elephant Archers also benefit from the Paiks technology, which enhances their attack rate but not their accuracy. However, Bengalis lack Thumb Ring, which means the attack rate of their Elephant Archers is just slightly better than the Elephant Archers with Thumb Ring (which is the case of Gurjaras), but their attack is pretty inaccurate. The Bengali Elephant Archers have all armor upgrades, making them a potent counter to foot archers. Considering Bengalis have all three complete Elephant lines, they can make a perfect pair for the Bengali Battle Elephants, which can act as a meatshield for the Elephant Archer.
The Dravidian Elephant Archer is the best attacker of the three, having all attack upgrades for the unit, plus their civilization bonus that makes Elephant Archers fire 25% faster. This means that, unlike the other two civilizations, Dravidian Elite Elephant Archers are well suited for being at the back and providing ranged support. Dravidian Elephant Archers regenerate 20 hit points after Medical Corps is researched. Dravidian Elephant Archers, however, have some drawbacks, as they do not get access to Husbandry, Parthian Tactics, and Bloodlines. Lacking Husbandry means they are the slowest of the three and are the worst at raiding despite having the best damage output. Missing Bloodlines and Parthian Tactics makes them glass cannon when facing melee damage compared to the other two. However, they are better against ranged attack than Gurjaras, which have neither Ring Archer Armor nor Parthian Tactics. Like the Bengalis, Dravidians also have Battle Elephants; but unlike Bengalis, they can't upgrade them to Elite Battle Elephants. However, an Elephant Archers + Battle Elephants strategy in the Castle Age is still viable if the player managed to perform a fast Castle Age strategy previously. In this sense, the Battle Elephant may be used as extra protection for the Elephant Archer.
Gurjara Elephant Archers are the easiest to deploy of all three, as their team bonus allows them to spam Elephant Archers faster. Adding to this, the unique technology Kshatriyas makes them 25% cheaper on a food cost, which is huge since elephant units are quite food intensive to begin with. Unlike Bengalis or Dravidians, the Gurjaras have access to Heresy, but not Faith, which means that their Elephant Archers are easier to convert, but will die instead becoming the enemy color. The Gurjaras have +4 melee armor from the Frontier Guards unique technology in the Imperial Age, but lack both Parthian Tactics and Ring Archer Armor. This makes the Gurjaras' Elephant Archer much better against melee units, especially Hussars, but worse against other archer units.
Comparison in the Castle Age
|food, 70 gold|
|Extras||Receive -25% bonus damage
Resistant to conversion
|Unit strengths and weaknesses|
|Strong vs.||Slow non-ranged units, archers, buildings|
|Weak vs.||Spearmen, Kamayuks, Berserks, Genoese Crossbowmen, Huskarls, Mamelukes, Camel Riders, Eagle Scouts, Samurai, Monks, Skirmishers, Scorpions, Flaming Camels|
|Hit points||Bloodlines (+20)|
|Attack|| Fletching (+1)|
Bodkin Arrow (+1)
Parthian Tactics (+2 against Spearmen, Bengalis only)
|Range|| Fletching (+1)|
Bodkin Arrow (+1)
|Firing rate|| Thumb Ring (+18%)|
Paiks (+20%, Bengalis only)
|Accuracy||Ballistics (hit moving targets)|
|Armor|| Padded Archer Armor (+1/+1)|
Leather Archer Armor (+1/+1)
Ring Archer Armor (+1/+2)
Parthian Tactics (+1/+2, Bengalis only)
Frontier Guards (+4/+0, Gurjaras only)
|Conversion defense|| Faith|
Heresy (Gurjaras only)
|Creation speed||Conscription (+33%)|
|Train cost||Kshatriyas (-25% food, Gurjaras only)|
|Other||Medical Corps (regenerate 20 HP per minute, Dravidians only)|
|Upgrades||Elite Elephant Archer|
- Bengalis: Elephant Archers receive -25% bonus damage and are more resistant to conversion.
- Dravidians: Elephant Archers attack 25% faster.
- A team containing Britons: Archery Ranges work 20% faster.
- A team containing Bulgarians: Researching upgrades at the Blacksmith is faster.
- A team containing Gurjaras: Elephant Archers are created 25% faster.
- A team containing Huns: Researching Bloodlines and Husbandry is 20% faster.
- A team containing Lithuanians: Researching Faith is 20% faster.
- A team containing Malians: Researching Chemistry and Ballistics is 80% faster.
- A team containing Tatars: Elephant Archers have +2 Line of Sight.
- A team containing Teutons: Elephant Archers are more resistant to conversion.
- The Elephant Archer is the unique unit of the Indians, which do not have access to Ring Archer Armor.
- Elephant Archers cost 110 food, 80 gold.
- The upgrade to Elite Elephant Archer costs 1200 food, 800 gold and takes 60 seconds.
- Elephant Archers have 250 HP, 4 pierce armor, -2 archer and 0 cavalry archer armor, a reload time of 2.5, 0.8 speed, 100% accuracy, and a training time of 25 seconds.
The African Kingdoms
- Indians get access to Ring Archer Armor.
- Elephant Archers cost 100 food, 80 gold.
- The upgrade to Elite Elephant Archer costs 1000 food, 800 gold.
- Elephant Archers have 280 HP, 3 pierce armor.
Rise of the Rajas
Dynasties of India
- Elephant Archers are no longer a unique unit, and are now available at the Archery Range for the Bengalis, Dravidians, and Gurjaras (but not for the Hindustanis).
- Elephant Archers cost 90 food, 70 gold, have 230 HP, 2 pierce armor, 70% accuracy, 0.9 speed, 34 seconds training time, -7 Cavalry Archer armor, no attack bonuses, and researching Elite Elephant Archer takes 80 seconds.
- The Elephant Archer is the first unit in Age of Empires II to lose its unique unit status, since in Dynasties of India, it was replaced by the Ghulam for the Hindustani civilization (formerly Indians) while becoming an Archery Range unit for the new civilizations.
- In the mod version Age of Empires II: The Forgotten Empires and the retail version Age of Empires II HD: The Forgotten, up to patch 3.4, the Elephant Archer was represented by an Age of Empires Composite Bowman mounted atop a War Elephant. The Elephant Archer got redesigned in patch 3.5. Further redesigns were made in patch 3.6.
- Since patch 3.6, Elephant Archers have a wheel-like symbol at their sides. The symbol is known as Dharmachakra (lit: wheel of law) and symbolizes the spiritual change in Buddhism.
- If one looks closely, every time the Elephant Archer attacks, the arrows will launch from the elephant's head instead from the rider's bow.
- The Elephant Archer was often seen by players as one of the worst unique units in the game. This was mostly because of their highly situational uses, fairly high cost, and the amount of weaknesses that they had due of the great amount of armor classes. Changes in Dynasties of India were aimed at making it more viable since it is created at Archery Ranges, moves slightly faster and costs slightly less food. The unit has been nerfed accordingly, but it is now easier to use.
- The usage of an archer on top of a war elephant can be traced back to the Carthaginians' era as a countermeasures against cavalry, therefore a war elephant is still able to attack enemy at close range. The lack of a melee attack of the Elephant Archer is due to limitations of the Game Engine.
- In the beta, Elephant Archers had the same pierce armor as now. Parthian Tactics did not affect their attack against Pikemen.
- Despite not being unique anymore, Parthian Tactics still gives them +2 attack bonus vs Spearmen.
People from the Pre-Indic Indus civilization were the first to tame elephants, roughly around 4,000 years ago in Indus valley for agricultural purpose. Later on, Indic-speaking newcomers from the steppes introduced horses and familiarized themselves with tame elephants. The first military application of elephants dates from around 1100 BC and is mentioned in several Sanskrit hymns. War elephants were used either to charge and trample enemy troops directly, or to carry archers and spear throwers who can attack from the top. Elephant's sheer height and mass offered considerable protection for their riders.